KITCHENALIA owned by the late Elizabeth David, whose books on French and Italian provincial cooking changed the British attitude to 'foreign food' in the post-war period, is for sale at Phillips, Tuesday (12 noon). Devotees are said to be willing to pay pounds 100 or more for a well-used David wooden spoon; but will they go for her fascinating framed Victorian trade cards (est pounds 100- pounds 150)? Hidden in battered (and gravy-stained) albums are hand- coloured sketches by her first illustrator, the late John Minton, whose star in the art market has risen this year with a retrospective at the RCA. Do not get carried away by crazy bidding.

There are minor Old Master sales, the first of the year, at Christie's, Friday (11am), Phillips, Tuesday (11am), Christie's South Kensington, Thursday (10.30am) and Bonhams, Thursday (11am). Whether you regard Old Master prices as rock-bottom or a bed-rock depends on how optimistic you are. Unlike Impressionists or Victorians, Old Master prices fell further than expected during the recession and have recovered only feebly because of the defection of money-troubled Italian buyers.

Last month's apparently buoyant sale total at Christie's, New York - 90 per cent by value - was the result of trimming estimates. Sotheby's comparable sale made a modest 74 per cent by value while its more sumptuous Sharp collection sold 94 per cent. New York showed that prices of Northern Old Masters - Dutch, German - are livelier than Italian. There is certainly plenty of Northern art in this week's sales.

A Terry Frost gouache or a Josef Herman lithograph for a couple of hundred pounds or less? Bonhams' Chelsea modern and contemporary British and continental pictures, Wednesday (2pm) are worth scanning for muddy diamonds.


Backyard Brabazon ( pounds 800- pounds 1,200) is among 100 lots of meticulously carved miniature aircraft by the late William Doylend at Christie's South Kensington, Friday (10.30am). Plenty around pounds 100.

Also at South Ken: transport memorabilia, Thursday (2pm). Vintage fountain pens: Bonhams Knightsbridge, Friday (11am). Mountaineering, polar exploration books: Bloomsbury Book Auctions, Thursday (11am).